"Sufferings and Privations" of Wartime During Winter
As we experience winter in December 2011, imagine what war during these cold months was like in 1812 and the subsequent years of the War of 1812. In The War of
1812, the filmmakers help convey the harsh wartime realities, in part, through the story of William Atherton, a Kentucky farm boy who spent more than a year in cold and hungry captivity as a prisoner of war.
Atherton's personal experiences, as told by himself in Narrative of the Suffering and Defeat of the North-western Army, published in 1842, helped inform the making of the documentary The War of 1812. As the subtitle of the book details, it's an account of "Sixteen Months Imprisonment of the Writer and Others with the Indians and the British." In the preface to his book, Atherton writes,
History has given us an account of the sufferings of the
North-Western Army only in general terms, but no where, so far as I have been
able to learn, has there been given a particular detail of the sufferings and
privations of that detachment of the army. I think it proper that the rising generation
should know what their fathers suffered, and how they acted in the hour of
danger; that they sustained the double character of "Americans and Kentuckians."
You can read more about Prisoners of War in 1812 at the series website. And you can watch William Atherton's story in the documentary, as portrayed by re-enactor William White (pictured right), by watching the The War of
1812 online (and we'll let you know once the 2012 rebroadcast is scheduled).
Want to Tell Others? You can easily Tell a Friend about this e-newsletter, which is now a monthly communication. Use #pbs1812 on Twitter. Or download the web button to the right for your own website. For other project materials or questions, please contact Kate Kelly at WETA.
Watch the Film
Watch The War of 1812 online. The entire two-hour film is now online at pbs.org/1812 .
A Bi-National Bicentennial
Throughout 2012-2015, the U.S. Navy and OpSail (Operation
Sail, Inc.) will conduct a seven-port public/private partnership for the
bicentennial commemoration of the War of 1812 and the writing of The
Week-long events, including parades of sail, public
visitation, spectacular air shows, international athletic competitions, and
community relations activities will mark the occasions in New
Orleans, New York City, Norfolk,
Baltimore/Annapolis, and Boston/New London. Similar events will take place in Great Lakes ports and across the nation. Fleet Weeks, Navy Weeks and other annual events
will use the commemoration as a teaching tool to impart important lessons about
We will feature other Bicentennial plans here in future e-newsletters.